The Machinery

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cogsinhead.jpg“The machinery” is what we need to move around and interact with the physical world and other beings.

Whether we are physical beings have emotional and mental experiences, or indeed spiritual beings have a physical experience, the machinery is the same.

It may be that the brain creates our own unique conscious experience, or it may be that the brain is a conductor of consciousness from another realm – but the machinery is the same.

This section is going to cover:

This collectively I have termed our machinery.  It has little to do with discovering enlightenment, but it is good to understand the machinery and how the machinery works.  Then we will be in a better position to understand consciousness and pursue enlightenment.

Know Thyself!

In order to address the big questions of life such as why are we here, what are we supposed to be doing, and what enlightenment is, the first thing we need to know is who we are.  Learning about the machinery (brain and physical body) is a good place to start.

I am quoting the famous Ancient Greek aphorism:  “Know thyself!Roman-mosaic-know-thyself

This can be interpreted a number of ways but here I intend it to mean “find out who you are“.  We spend a lot of time and effort researching and learning and travelling around the world, but discovering who we are, our talents and abilities, and how we function internally is vital to our own growth and well-being.  It is also a pre-requisite to understanding enlightenment.

Simple diagram

This section of the website will deal with these aspects of the machinery, and a full diagram is always available for reference.  Let’s start with the simple diagram below.


The brain interacts with the physical body through the nervous system.  It receives inputs from the physical senses, and it moves the body around using the somatic (voluntary movement) nerves.  The internal organs are controlled through the autonomic (involuntary) nerves via the sympathetic (“on”) and parasympathetic (“off”) pathways.

Improved interaction with our early hominid ancestors was made possible by the emergence of our emotions.

Why do we “think”?

What is the evolutionary purpose of thinking?thinking man
The emotional responses of the limbic brain work pretty well for animals and other mammals.  With the limbic brain we are able to eat, sleep and reproduce.  There are examples of children that have been raised with wolves or apes – they don’t fit in with the social norms of society, and have trouble communicating with other humans, but they are able to survive.  Being able to “think” helps us cope with new and novel situations.  It helps us achieve specific goals and make difficult decisions, and it inhibits us from making irrelevant actions or reacting in a way that could separate us from our social groups.  It is an evolutionary advantage helping us to cope with circumstances that the unconscious Limbic brain is not able to handle.  We have mental faculties.

The Chariot

It is useful to consider the way the human body in the way it is depicted on the VII Tarot card “The Chariot” and what it symbolises.


Quoting from one of the Hindu Upanishads:  “Know that the Self is the rider, and the body the chariot; that the intellect is the charioteer, and the mind the reins” (Katha Upanishad 1:3:3).

The sphinxes (horses in some other depictions) are the senses of our physical body.  If the charioteer (our intellect) is a good driver and has control over the reins (his mind), the horses/sphinxes can quickly and efficiently carry the rider to interesting places with a life full of fun and adventure.

This may not always be the case.  Your horses may be out of control dragging the chariot hither and thither.  The chariot wheels may be stuck in a rut, or the chariot may have tipped and and by lying upside down on the side of the road going nowhere!  This website is here to help!